The third and final module of the S2A European Course on Sport Administration, organised as part of the EU funded S2A Sport Mobility project, took place from 29th November to 3rd December 2021 as a series of five online afternoon sessions.

The third module of this innovative European Course was titled “Adapted Marketing and Communications for Sport” and 40 participants from Western Balkans and Europe took part to learn from the lecturers and industry guests and develop their knowledge on marketing and communications in the specific context of sport.

For this final week of training, participants were divided in to three groups and worked on a group project throughout the week, culminating in group presentations on the Friday afternoon. The group task was based on being the management committee of a sports club and presenting strategies to attract participants and make the club successful.

> S2A Sport Mobility

The S2A Sport Mobility project, with the full title “Enhancing the skills of sport administrators through international learning mobility” is an initiative funded by the European Commission which has the main ambition to enhance the skills of sport administrators working in paid and volunteer roles, to contribute to the capacity building of their sport organisations and the development of the whole sport sector.

The project contributes to meeting the needs of the sport sector to invest in human capital and build capacity in sport organisations. It also promotes transregional cooperation and aims to enhance physical activity and health outcomes through effective sport administrators.

The project to develop the European Course is coordinated by the European Observatoire of Sport and Employment (EOSE) and is made up of a consortium of 8 partners including 3 National Olympic Committees, 3 universities and 2 European sport networks.

> Module 3 Day 1

The first day of the training week on Monday 29th November began with a recap of modules 1 and 2 on the topics of strategy and leadership, the evaluation of module 2 was presented and it was pleasing to note that the average participant rating for module 2 was 4.4 out of 5.

The main part of the day was led by Course Director Kirstie Simpson, who delivered a lecture and managed learning activities on effective communication, how marketing and communications are connected, the key marketing and communication skills in the digital age and how marketing plans can align with the organisations strategy.

Participants formed groups and were introduced to the week-long group task which they began to work on together.

> Module 3 Day 2

Day 2 on Tuesday focussed on marketing principles and the competences needed to plan, implement, and monitor these principles. The 7 Ps of marketing was a key lecture topic for this day.

Day 2 saw the first guest speaker from the sports industry of the week, Vuk Karanovic, Head of Development, from the Confederation  Europeenne de Volleyball (CEV) joined the group to discuss marketing activities in volleyball particularly managed by the CEV. They aim to create a more attractive product for fans, media and commercial partners. Other themes covered by Vuk included making volleyball attractive to new generations, implementing new technologies, and the marketing of major events. Participants valued Vuk’s contribution and learned a lot from the case study of a leading European federations.

> Module 3 Day 3

Day 3 on Wednesday covered target groups and marketing objectives, as well as how to develop a marketing plan. Topics included market segmentation and examples were given including from Sport England. Participants learned how to use the S2A Standards relating to marketing to evaluate and improve their own practice.

> Module 3 Day 4

Day 4 began with the second guest speaker of the week, Diana Pirciu from the Romanian Football Federation. Diana gave an informative and engaging presentation on UEFA 2020 and the management of volunteers for the games that took place in Bucharest. Linking this to marketing and discussing at length the methods of communication used, Diana’s talk was very well received by participants who learned a lot and were inspired by the presentation.

The lecture sessions following, delivered by the Course Director covered managing your digital identity and the importance of partnership working with other organisations. The participant working groups also planned for their end-of-course presentations on the next day.

> Module 3 Day 5

The final day of the week was dedicated to three group presentations where the groups took the role of a sports club and delivered their mission and strategy for growing the club and being successful. 29 course participants were active in presenting the hypothetical sports clubs. The Course Team were hugely impressed with the quality and effort which had gone into the presentations. It was noted that all of them brought together the themes of the whole course of strategy, leadership and marketing/ communications. Course Director Kirstie Simpson provided feedback to each group and stated all groups had clearly learned a lot and were able to successfully build a hypothetical case study with their working groups. Kliton Muca from S2A partner Olympic Committee of Albania also provided feedback to groups.

The day ended with a lighthearted quiz to finish the week and the whole course in a nice atmosphere.

> Cultural exchange

One aim of the course is cultural exchange and mobility which would have featured more heavily if the course had been delivered face to face but as with Modules 1 and 2 an effort was made to increase awareness of other countries and cultures represented on the course. Participants from Belgium, Lithuania, England (Cheshire), and Slovenia all took a turn during the week to present key information on culture, history, food and sport from their country, and show a short video of beautiful scenery. The participants appreciate this aspect of the course which improves connections and networking.

> Concluding the project and looking ahead

A certificate of participation will be issued to participants on the course, and EOSE is considering ways in which the network of participants can be maintained and a forum can be created to keep in touch in the future. The S2A Sport Mobility project which the course was developed as part of concludes in December 2021.

Overall project partners learned a lot from the delivery of the European Course and seek opportunities to run such programmes in the future. There is clearly demand for such high quality skills training for the target group of aspiring sports leaders in the area of sport administration, to help them on their career journey in sport.

> Final word

Testimonials about the course were provided by several participants and we can give them the final word:

The S2A Course provided me with a great range of learning experiences across a wide spectrum of modules to aid me in my professional development within the Sports Industry. The contacts gained, alongside the learning material will benefit me greatly within my role. I’d recommend to anyone to engage and participate in this course if they get the opportunity to do so.” Nick Davies, Tier 2 Cymru South General Manager, Football Association of Wales.

 “Being part of this course was an wonderful experience for me. In this course I learned a lot of things that will help me for my career in the future. This course taught me a lot of new things, and now I’m trying to bring alive all those experiences.” Sopot Sula, Albanian Weightlifting Federation.